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Proby Cautley

Proby Cautley

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Sir Proby Thomas Cautley KCB (1802 – 25 January 1871), English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 engineer
Engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

 and palaeontologist, born in Suffolk
Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

, is best known for conceiving and supervising the construction of the Ganges canal in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. The 350 mile canal stretches some 350 miles between its headworks at Hardwar
Hardwar
Hardwar is a 1998 science fiction flight simulation computer game developed by The Software Refinery and published by Gremlin Interactive. In the USA, the game was distributed by Interplay under license...

 and its confluence with the Ganges river
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

 mainstem
Mainstem (hydrology)
In relation to hydrology, a main stem is "the primary downstream segment of a river, as contrasted to its tributaries". Another common term for the main stem, the final large channel of a riverine system, is the trunk. Water enters the main stem from the river's drainage basin, the land area...

 in Kanpur.

Proby Cautley was educated at Charterhouse School
Charterhouse School
Charterhouse School, originally The Hospital of King James and Thomas Sutton in Charterhouse, or more simply Charterhouse or House, is an English collegiate independent boarding school situated at Godalming in Surrey.Founded by Thomas Sutton in London in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian...

 (1813-18), followed by the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

's Military Seminary at Addiscombe
Addiscombe Military Academy
The East India Company Military Seminary, colloquially known as Addiscombe Seminary, Addiscombe College, or Addiscombe Military Academy was a British military academy at Addiscombe, Surrey, in what is now the London Borough of Croydon. It was established in 1809, and closed in 1861...

 (1818-19). After less than a year there, he was commissioned second lieutenant and dispatched to India, joining the Bengal Presidency
Bengal Presidency
The Bengal Presidency originally comprising east and west Bengal, was a colonial region of the British Empire in South-Asia and beyond it. It comprised areas which are now within Bangladesh, and the present day Indian States of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Orissa and Tripura.Penang and...

 artillery in Calcutta. In 1825, he assisted Captain Robert Smith, the engineer in charge of constructing the Eastern Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

 canal, also called the Doab
Doab
A Doab is a term used in India and Pakistan for a "tongue" or tract of land lying between two confluent rivers...

 canal. He was in charge of this canal for 12 years between 1831 and 1843. By 1836, he was Superintendent-General of Canals.

Ganges canal



In 1840 Cautley reported on the proposed Ganges canal, for the irrigation of the country between the rivers Ganges
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

, Hindan and Yamuna- then called the Jumna, which was his most important work.

Cautley began working towards his dream of building a Ganges canal, and spent six months walking and riding through the area taking each measurement himself. He was confident that a 500-kilometre canal was feasible. There were many obstacles and objections to his project, mostly financial, but Cautley persevered and eventually persuaded the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 to back him. This project was sanctioned in 1841, but the work was not begun till 1843, and even then Cautley found himself hampered in its execution by the opposition of Lord Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough
Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough GCB, PC was a British Tory politician. He was four times President of the Board of Control and also served as Governor-General of India between 1842 and 1844.-Background and education:...

.

Digging of the canal began in April 1842. Cautley had to make his own bricks, brick kiln
Kiln
A kiln is a thermally insulated chamber, or oven, in which a controlled temperature regime is produced. Uses include the hardening, burning or drying of materials...

 and mortar. Initially, he was opposed by the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 priests at Haridwar, who felt that the waters of the holy river Ganges would be imprisoned but Cautley pacified them by agreeing to leave a gap in the dam from where the water could flow unchecked. He further appeased the priests by undertaking the repair of bathing ghats along the river. He also inaugurated the dam by the worship of Lord Ganesh, the god of good beginnings.

The dam was faced with many complications- among them was the problem of the mountainous streams that threatened the canal. Near Roorkee
Roorkee
Roorkee is a city and seat of a municipal council in Uttarakhand, in far northern India. It is located on the banks of the Ganges canal on the national highway between Delhi and Dehradun. Roorkee is known for Roorkee Cantonment, one of the country's oldest cantonments, and the headquarters of...

, the land fell away sharply and Cautley had to build an aqueduct to carry the canal for half a kilometre. As a result, at Roorkee the canal is 25 metres higher than the original river.

From 1845 to 1848 he was absent in England owing to ill-health, and on his return to India he was appointed director of canals in the North-Western Provinces.

When the canal formally opened on 8 April 1854, its main channel was 348 miles (560.1 km) long, its branches 306 miles (492.5 km) long and the various tributaries over 3000 miles (4,828 km) long. Over 767000 acres (3,103.9 km²) in 5,000 villages were irrigated.

One of the Twelve Hostels of IIT Roorkee is named after him.

Fossil work


Cautley was actively involved in Dr. Hugh Falconer's
Hugh Falconer
Hugh Falconer MD FRS was a Scottish geologist, botanist, palaeontologist and paleoanthropologist. He studied the flora, fauna and geology of India, Assam and Burma, and was the first to suggest the modern evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium...

 fossil expeditions in the Siwalik Hills
Siwalik Hills
The Sivalik hills is a mountain range of the outer Himalayas also known as Manak Parbat in ancient times. Shivalik literally means 'tresses of Shiva’. This range is about long enclosing an area that starts almost from the Indus and ends close to the Brahmaputra, with a gap of about between the...

. He presented a large collection of fossil mammalia- among them a hippopotamus
Hippopotamus
The hippopotamus , or hippo, from the ancient Greek for "river horse" , is a large, mostly herbivorous mammal in sub-Saharan Africa, and one of only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae After the elephant and rhinoceros, the hippopotamus is the third largest land mammal and the heaviest...

 and crocodile
Crocodile
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae . The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e...

 fossils indicating that the area was once a swampland. Other animal remains that he found here included the sabre-toothed tiger
Smilodon
Smilodon , often called a saber-toothed cat or saber-toothed tiger, is an extinct genus of machairodonts. This saber-toothed cat was endemic to North America and South America, living from near the beginning through the very end of the Pleistocene epoch .-Etymology:The nickname "saber-tooth" refers...

, Elephis ganesa- an elephant with a trunk length of about 10 and a half feet, the bones of a fossil ostrich
Ostrich
The Ostrich is one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member of the genus Struthio. Some analyses indicate that the Somali Ostrich may be better considered a full species apart from the Common Ostrich, but most taxonomists consider it to be a...

 and the remains of giant cranes
Crane (bird)
Cranes are a family, Gruidae, of large, long-legged and long-necked birds in the order Gruiformes. There are fifteen species of crane in four genera. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back...

 and tortoises.

He also contributed numerous memoirs, some written in collaboration with Dr Hugh Falconer
Hugh Falconer
Hugh Falconer MD FRS was a Scottish geologist, botanist, palaeontologist and paleoanthropologist. He studied the flora, fauna and geology of India, Assam and Burma, and was the first to suggest the modern evolutionary theory of punctuated equilibrium...

, to the Proceedings of the Bengal Asiatic Society and the Geological Society of London
Geological Society of London
The Geological Society of London is a learned society based in the United Kingdom with the aim of "investigating the mineral structure of the Earth"...

 on the geology and fossil remains of the Sivalik Hills.

Writings


Cautley's writings indicated his large and varied interests. He wrote on a submerged city, twenty feet underground, in the Doab
Doab
A Doab is a term used in India and Pakistan for a "tongue" or tract of land lying between two confluent rivers...

: on the coal and lignite in the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

; on gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 washings in the Siwaliks
Siwalik Hills
The Sivalik hills is a mountain range of the outer Himalayas also known as Manak Parbat in ancient times. Shivalik literally means 'tresses of Shiva’. This range is about long enclosing an area that starts almost from the Indus and ends close to the Brahmaputra, with a gap of about between the...

, between the Sutlej
Sutlej
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.The Sutlej...

 and the Yamuna
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

; on a new species of snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

; on the mastodons of the Siwaliks and on the manufacture of tar
Tar
Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest...

.

In 1860 he published a full account of the making of the Ganges canal.

Awards and honors


In 1837, he received Wollaston medal
Wollaston Medal
The Wollaston Medal is a scientific award for geology, the highest award granted by the Geological Society of London.The medal is named after William Hyde Wollaston, and was first awarded in 1831...

 of the Geological Survey of Great Britain.

Death


After the Ganges canal was opened in 1854 he went back to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where he was made KCB
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

, and from 1858 to 1868 he occupied a seat on the council of India
Council of India
The Council of India was the name given at different times to two separate bodies associated with British rule in India.The original Council of India was established by the Regulating Act of 1773 as a council of four formal advisors to the Governor-General at Fort William...

. He died at Sydenham
Sydenham
Sydenham is an area and electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham; although some streets towards Crystal Palace Park, Forest Hill and Penge are outside the ward and in the London Borough of Bromley, and some streets off Sydenham Hill are in the London Borough of Southwark. Sydenham was in...

, near London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, on 25 January 1871.